Paul Ryan better watch his ass, because the Iron Stache is coming for his seat.
Democrat Randy Bryce of Caledonia, WI announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Ryan’s seat since 1999. Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, a union ironworker and a cancer survivor.
Oh yeah, and his Twitter handle is @IronStache.
Most candidates are lukewarm cookie-cutter suits with comparable backgrounds in politics, lobbying, campaigning, etc. That’s what makes Randy Bryce so great. If “dad face” were a word (how is it not already?), Bryce’s campaign photo would be printed in every volume of Merriam Webster. Throw him in the ring against one of the most polarizing, special interest-serving politicians in America, and we’ve got a political underdog sensation on our hands.
Bryce’s initial campaign advertisement features an emotional interview with his mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, explaining how Obamacare’s repeal—championed by Ryan—could balloon her already expensive medication costs. It’s a down-home political commercial, one speaking to the wholesome values of a local community and getting America’s priorities back on track.
It’s one we’re not accustomed to seeing from a Democrat. Community values and setting America straight have served as GOP catchalls since Barack Obama took office in 2009.
At this point, Democrats are more used to—and tired of—candidates like Archie Parnell, who lost in yesterday’s special election in South Carolina’s 5th district. He’s a former attorney in the Department of Justice and Goldman Sachs business manager, checking boxes on loyalty to party and the almighty corporate dollar. Democrats prefer to put weight behind centrists like John Ossoff, who also lost yesterday in Georgia’s 6th district, even if their base tells them differently.
Even though the impressive support Bryce has received since announcing his candidacy should garner national party support, stereotypical Dems will still make themselves heard. David Yankovich, a Clintonista who moved to Wisconsin with the express purpose of unseating Ryan, has entered the fray, and those on his side have already begun accusing Bryce of Trump-like tactics.
But for now that’s all moot. Bryce is an everyman figure progressives need, one they couldn’t have cooked up better in a lab. Taking down Ryan is a long shot, especially given his political clout and deep pockets.
Still, it’s fun to imagine the 2018 primetime showdown between the Slimy Speaker and the Iron Stache. Will Ryan have enough money left in his hollowed out soul to defeat an earnest candidate? Can Bryce overcome all odds and defeat the political behemoth with his everyday honesty and charm?
I’m all in. May the best man win.